If every athlete is individual, why does TR treat indoor training as if it will be the same RPE as outdoor training for every cyclist?

Blaming TR for this is absolutely hilarious.


Like you, I find the RPE on outdoor rides to be easier than indoor. This has little to do with conditions between the two environments, and for me at least, more to do with my ability to produce power on climbs versus on a rigid trainer with no lateral movement.

The way I get around this is to do an FTP test on the trainer (vs outdoors). Naturally, my result will be lower (than outdoors) and therefore the TR workouts assigned are more accurate to my ability.

Whether our FTP is 100 or 1000 is arbitrary. What matters is the relationship between that number and the intensity of the workouts assigned.

TR is an indoor training program with a 30 day money back guarantee. Isn’t this acknowledging it may not be for everyone?

As for the indoor / outdoor discrepancies… besides setup, which is covered well in the above posts, and outside of environmental factors such as heat or lots of wind… it could just be mental. Personally I HATE the treadmill. Can’t do it, don’t want to do it. I’ll go outside or take a day off. I’d imagine for some the indoor bike trainer feels the same. I prefer riding outside, but indoor has given some great structure for training. That said 60 min is about right for me. I did 90 minutes and it felt long. That’s not TrainerRoad’s fault. That’s just my mental limit.

If your FTP is different than go with an indoor FTP and an outdoor one. There’s no rules here… do what you feel is best.

I just had my athletes to do 8min test before starting the first base block… they had to do one day indoor and after 2 days outdoor. Same bike same PM and EVERYONE was at least 10% lower indoor…

Different numbers are a thing even TR constantly denying it.

For example, diff around vo2max power is around 15-20% and what is the point of doing 4x4 indoor on outdoor FTP numbers…

If not doing training at altitude is a thing (sleep high train low because of undertraining) than why is not the same with indoor?


It’d be interesting to know whether you are achieving the same adaptations/providing the same stimulus training at the lower number.

Elevated HR, RPE, and sweat rate would indicate you’re working hard/as hard as you can, but since you’re using less oxygen, putting out less Watts, and presumably recruiting fewer fibres/mitochondria, are the stimuli the same :man_shrugging:.

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If sweetspot is too hard you should just do a ramp test indoors and base your training on that. Personally I can’t maintain sweetspot outside, too many distractions to maintain power unless it gets warmer than around 18 C inside than longer intervals (>5min) inside are out of the question

Another thing ERG mode is very unforgiving, you can’t take micro breaks which you do outside, which can make a huge difference in RPE

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That’s exactly what I do. But what do you think he should do when he does an outdoor ride based off his indoor FTP? He can’t raise the intensity on his head unit to match the effort, and if he marks the post-ride survey easy, AT may make his indoor rides too hard.

My outdoor eFTP is 290. My TR FTP is 268. And I feel like my indoor workouts are set just right.

It’s winter. It’s cold inside. I have three lasko fan, the same power meter and bike. I don’t buy into the “air flow” argument.

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A few points -

  1. As many have mentioned, indoor vs outdoor ftp might not be equal for you. Test your indoor FTP and base your indoor work around that, ignoring the comparison with outdoor performances.
  2. Virtually no indoor set-up delivers the same level on airflow and cooling as riding outside, and this could significantly impact both RPE and actual capability.
  3. You say you have no problem doing sweet spot intervals outside, but it might be worth considering how closely you are holding the power target. If you are using erg mode indoors, you will be keeping to the power target pretty closely. Even just using resistance mode, you should be able to hold pretty consistently close to the power target. Outside, most people’s power will fluctuate far more. This could mean that you are effectively getting micro-breaks mid interval, which make the overall interval feel much easier.

Hopefully you find a way of training that works effectively for you as an individual. I would definitely though try to avoid overly comparing outside with inside if your perception of them is so different, as doing so won’t help push you forward.

I think it’s probably related to momentum, and flywheel size on the trainer. Are you doing workouts in the small ring or big ring? For the same power, big ring in a hard gear on the cassette will feel easier than little ring and easy gear on the cassette. Out side you have way more momentum, unless your going up a 15% grade or something dumb. The lack of momentum inside causes you to apply force to the pedals a little different than outside.

At the end of the day… it doesn’t matter… most of us have inside and outside FTP. We are not able to give same power

I prefer to think of it in terms of being open to new challenging forms of training.

Sure once you get into indoor training / racing and live in W/Kg land it’s easy to get discouraged by the swarm of juniors (who rank well in w/kg) and people who set their weight incorrectly…

Just do the training, focus on the training response, not necessarily the numbers and when you get back out onto the road it will be like the lion finally got out of the cage.

My ability to hold and repeat hard efforts outside is better than indoors. In outdoor training, I have more things to distract me (make it to the lamppost, stay in a position until the end of this incline, shout some expletives, etc.).

On the trainer I visualise parts of the weekend group ride/race when it gets tough. That really helps me during indoor training and also when I approach those sections in real life, if I remember.

Since I now only train indoors during the week, I accept the AI FTP and no longer ‘correct it’ to reflect my outdoor power. This adjustment has prevented failed workouts and burnout. Now I’m making progress. Given the fact that I’ve trained on trainers for over 20 years, I’m just going to accept the situation and work with it. Maybe I’m too mentally weak, OK.

There are umpteen factors in countless combinations between indoor and outdoor. I barely mentioned a few of them and as it’s been said here, we’re all different and process stimuli differently. Hopefully we all find what works.

I can’t believe (yes I can) I used to do cadence drills and VO2 sessions on busy and backed up canyon roads as the sun was setting in Southern California—and thought that was the same as doing it on the trainer in my peaceful back yard. No wonder I burned out. Monitoring the head unit, adjusting my effort to stay in zone, and trying to stay alive was perhaps a little more taxing. Idiot me.